I wasn't the only one covering Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) fifth anniversary as a public company yesterday. It seems as if every financial media outlet was all over the milestone, as a testament to both the search engine's mammoth wealth creation and the sparseness of meaty financial news in the summertime.

I was particularly intrigued by CNBC's approach: It profiled a list of the S&P 500's best and worst performers since Google's market debut on Aug. 19, 2004.

As of last night's close, there are just six components of the 500-stock index that have delivered meatier gains than Google.

Company

8/19/2004

8/19/2009

Change

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

$15.36

$164.60

972%

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)

$24.48

$222.51

809%

Southwestern Energy (NYSE:SWN)

$4.31

$38.74

799%

Range Resources (NYSE:RRC)

$9.91

$49.81

403%

Monsanto (NYSE:MON)

$18.13

$81.79

351%

Western Digital (NYSE:WDC)

$7.17

$32.10

348%

Google

$100.34

$443.97

342%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

It's an odd collection of market-beaters, with everything from operating-table gadgetry to a hard-drive maker.

It's also only fair to point out that the actual S&P 500 index didn't benefit from all of these long balls.

In fact, only Apple and Monsanto were index constituents when Google went public five years ago. Google was added two years later. Range Resources was called up in 2007. Intuitive Surgical and Southwestern Energy didn't make the cut until last year. Western Digital wasn't a part of the iconic index until this very summer.

In other words, it's not as if the S&P 500 got it right. It had to chase many of these stocks well into their meteoric runs.

This actually makes Google's run that much more impressive, since only Apple and Monsanto can claim to have had better runs as part of the S&P 500.

No one is suggesting that Google's next five years will have the same kind of sparkle as the last five years. The search engine has matured somewhat, with its once-breakneck growth rate slowing considerably.

It's still in good company, though -- no matter where you draw the S&P 500 guidelines.

Read up on Google:

Google and Intuitive Surgical are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still uses Google a lot in his daily life. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Intuitive Surgical. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.